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Co‐operation and competition: a Darwinian synthesis of relationship marketing

Adrian Palmer (Magee College, University of Ulster, Londonderry, Northern Ireland, UK)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 1 June 2000



Co‐operation is a defining characteristic of ongoing buyer‐seller relationships, yet selfishness lies at the heart of Darwinian models of evolution. Discussion of relationship marketing has paid insufficient attention to the analysis of reasons why individuals incur short‐term costs in order to gain an uncertain benefit from co‐operation in the future. This paper contributes to the development of theories of relationship marketing by exploring Darwinian game‐theoretic models as a basis for buyer‐seller relationships. Indiscriminate altruism by partners may at first seem to be co‐operative behaviour, but simulations have suggested that the long‐term effect may be to reduce co‐operation.



Palmer, A. (2000), "Co‐operation and competition: a Darwinian synthesis of relationship marketing", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 34 No. 5/6, pp. 687-704.




Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

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